“How did we as a society ever give these people the keys to our minds?” This is the foundation of our culture. In other parts of the world, people are living in extreme poverty and under authoritarian regimes, where they fear for their lives and are forced to conform strictly and enthusiastically and performatively. However, their minds *may* remain intact, and if fortunate, they may recognize the irony in their situation. I am not saying this is any better situation but to give another option existing out there in the real world. Unfortunately, in our culture, we are sold the idea of freedom to do whatever we please, especially in the capitalist sense and making a profit which at the end makes us rich and first world regardless that we may still have poverty amongst us. Nevertheless, in exchange of the physical freedom, we relinquish control over our thoughts. Every form of media, whether it’s television, social media, or scientific papers, shapes our beliefs and dictates what we should think. If we take a moment to reflect, it’s evident. Orwell was not talking about the rest of the world, he was talking about us! For example, we cannot brainwash other countries into changing their regimes without resorting to war or brute force, yet they can try to manipulate our opinions through media and psychological strategies. The power of psychiatry plays a significant role here. Even countries that are often considered our enemies have learned and applied psychiatric tactics on a global scale to try to upend our democracy. This comment may seem catastrophizing and comparing mental health or mental illness to global issues but honestly until we see the damage from broader view, we will not be able to make sense of psychiatry influence and its insidious dismantling of culture and society. In short, it is even bigger than we think, IMHO.
“How did we as a society ever give these people the keys to our minds?”
This is the foundation of our culture.
In other parts of the world, people are living in extreme poverty and under authoritarian regimes, where they fear for their lives and are forced to conform strictly and enthusiastically and performatively. However, their minds *may* remain intact, and if fortunate, they may recognize the irony in their situation. I am not saying this is any better situation but to give another option existing out there in the real world.
Unfortunately, in our culture, we are sold the idea of freedom to do whatever we please, especially in the capitalist sense and making a profit which at the end makes us rich and first world regardless that we may still have poverty amongst us. Nevertheless, in exchange of the physical freedom, we relinquish control over our thoughts. Every form of media, whether it’s television, social media, or scientific papers, shapes our beliefs and dictates what we should think. If we take a moment to reflect, it’s evident. Orwell was not talking about the rest of the world, he was talking about us!
For example, we cannot brainwash other countries into changing their regimes without resorting to war or brute force, yet they can try to manipulate our opinions through media and psychological strategies. The power of psychiatry plays a significant role here. Even countries that are often considered our enemies have learned and applied psychiatric tactics on a global scale to try to upend our democracy.
This comment may seem catastrophizing and comparing mental health or mental illness to global issues but honestly until we see the damage from broader view, we will not be able to make sense of psychiatry influence and its insidious dismantling of culture and society. In short, it is even bigger than we think, IMHO.
As I age, I find that there is something positive about losing some of my youthful body. It has caused me to see my body in a new light. In my opinion, this is one of the main reasons why psychiatry does not prioritize behavior and physical well-being. While this is just my personal view and it may not be unique, I believe that if psychiatrists were to encourage people to take control of their muscles and movements, it could lead to a greater awareness of how individuals can influence the contents of their minds. It could help people realize that thoughts and feelings are just contents without merit unless one acts on them or moves their muscles in response.
Ironically, psychiatry may be against individual autonomy, despite the fact that individuality and autonomy are highly valued in society. Perhaps, without sounding too cynical, this is the engineering of the society: to control people’s minds and prevent them from being aware of their muscles and movements. People may be made to fear their thoughts and feelings so much that they lack the energy to even consider moving their bodies.
Can you imagine how much body movement supported by psychiatry could go rather than focusing on judging the inner and unique thoughts of the individual and reifying them to replace the true movement of the body?
The primary issue with most mental illnesses lies in the way we perceive the world and others. Both Descartes and modern neo-Cartesian models believe that our experience occurs “on the inside” in our individual minds or brains.
However, the only things that happen inside of us are physiological states such as heartbeat, headache, tension, and so on. It may be the biggest lie ever told that all of our relationships exist inside of us. If that were the case, why would we struggle with them? The truth is that relationships are not inside of us, but our beliefs are. Thinking that our beliefs are real is no different than believing in a god or some powerful entity that looks down on us.
I cannot speak to the writer’s subjective experience, but there is currently no scientific proof that our beliefs about the external world are valid materially. The closest we have come to understanding this is through neuroscience, which seems to be somewhat dominated by the belief system mantra.
All of these psychological ideas are, in my opinion, cultural not universal as we are told to believe.
The world does not sit around and ponder real world as if all of it is inside of us.
Feelings are sensations of physiological states like tension or inflammation communicated to the brain but of course psychiatry intercepted this path and convinced us that the states of the body are stories only they can tell us its meaning and we all become sort of mindless robots and forget how to pay attention to the body!
IMHO, feelings and thoughts are separate but also combined as one wants at any given time.
One time sitting under a tree at a campsite, I asked my husband (a lovely intellect) to only respond with his feelings without thinking. It was difficult at first. So we switch to OK then think without feeling and this was much easier for him. I was, on the other hand, opposite of him. I could feel faster than I could think.
The easiest way for me to know the difference is a feeling has corporeal sensation and if one “listens” deeply cause the sound of the impact is not loud, one can feel the heat, the pressure, the textual, or the tension or the wetness or the air puff etc. A thinking is quite fast track and often (at least in my subjective experience) does not touch the body but may warm the head. I often can speak or switch my trail of thought cause I am more grounded on my body than my mind and trust that quite frankly better…unless I feel unsafe in which, I observe more than interact.
One of the best interview I saw about this, though not directly related, was an interview with the PM of Finland talking about Putin. She said (paraphrasing her) that Putin was emotional and making decisions on feelings and fantasy of the great Russia of the past! I thought that was classic response because most world leaders stay out of expressing feelings of others as not to appear not smart or whatever we assigned to feelings. However, in this interview, it was quite clear she was observing a person doing things without thinking purely making huge decisions based on his childhood dreams or feelings on his body! Feelings do not lie but need a quick assessment for temporal purposes…hence Putin living in the past is killing a lot of people!
My point is most in the world, men in power positions avoid talk of feelings but actually every good decision ever made needs feelings and thinking together or mostly likely if it is survival where the thinking is shutdown and feelings rule, feelings determine life or death!
Glad to see @Daiphanous Weeping is back. I missed your commentary!
I had an encounter recently where a psychiatrist noted something along the lines of asking what is the threshold that an anxiety becomes pathology? I was feeling clever that day so I took a shot at this and asked the steemed doctor how do they stop themselves from getting to the pathology level of anxiety? Mic drop!
If looks could kill, I would not be here!
This is the basic issue in psychiatry. If a doctor does not know enough why or how they stop being pathology…same as how or why they are cancer free…why is it OK to have a person to say because you talk to yourself, you are insane? and tomorrow that may be de-pathologize since let us be honest – everybody is talking to themselves online! think about that for a second…as I type now I am alone and everybody who is typing online is mostly alone – yet if you speak up alone you are crazy! does that make a sense?
The whole culture outsourced any body pain of feelings and thoughts to others. It is fantastically tragic to see an adult who cannot confidently say what is wrong with them without being scolded that they cannot self diagnose but yet no one ever has a doubt when they may be in pain any other part of their bodies.
It is fascinating to say the least.
This is beyond timely.
I attended a Neurodivergent workshop at my work the other day. The line blurring what I call DSM/psychiatry cult and real life situations are colliding now in speed I have never seen before.
To add a salt on the wound, this link is from Economic World Forum 2023 and what is to come for all of us (if not already happening). https://www.weforum.org/events/world-economic-forum-annual-meeting-2023/sessions/ready-for-brain-transparency
at the workshop at work the idea was to disclose if you have any neurodivergent diagnosis (clinically or personally) and you should be accommodated. But what I heard was give us access to your mind and brain and body basically so we can manipulate you to maximum productivity.
The most ironic thing about the link I provided up there is the words The right to cognitive liberty and I could not help but feel, the gig is here.
I do not want to come off as paranoid humanoid, but just wanted to share the 2.0 of psychiatry if they survive to the future or if we do.
The problem with madness or crazy labels is that it does not mean people are incompetent or stupid, it means people are not following the societal rules of interaction without committing a crime and many times over is because we live in diverse society in so many levels!
An example to drive the point: if one asks too many personal questions that may make another “uncomfortable”, the one asking the questions may be considered “crazy” but not the one who could not regulate with unexpected environment. We cannot predict how others act all the time.
If you really look around what is considered ‘crazy’ and may get you a life time labels are differences in how people act with each other in diverse manners – we do live collectively whether we acknowledge that or not. We think we have so much freedom but in fact we have zero freedom intrinsically without a big brother setting the course of human interaction. What is the point of having higher economic status and education if we are unable to deal with spontaneity of others without freaking out and labeling a mental illness.
The internalization of the person feeling “uncomfortable” in the above scenario may go something like this: “I expect not to be inconvenienced, not be intruded, not be talked to any other way other than what I expect, and have the right to inner safety, and any other diverging manner will be personality disorder, mental illness or some other psychotic manner based on the bible DSM or my god given culture.” Our internalization process is overtaken!
Nothing wrong with wanting to feel unlimited “safety” but there is a limit if one wants to interact with others.
The majority of our lives we are moving along fine but now and then we do interact with others who are close to us who may act unexpected way and it is my humble opinion, we can act with curiosity rather than with the bible labels. Also reacting to these types of situations is human and what makes us get out of our complacency and display empathy and often learn a lot. I am preaching here…but most people labeled crazy often live around those who may have entitled and unearned safety mindset who are unaware of their own demands on others. That annoying bidirectional intersubjectivity!
We need those acting so different to experience different lines in life. How does one ever learn anything if one stays safe forever in interpersonal relationships?
We have safety in such the bus shows up on time. The speed on the highway is agreed upon. Our pay drops at midnight but we cannot ever have safety of how others may react to us short of crime of bodily harm. I am not by any stretch of imagination talking about abusive environment which again by giving a label does not solve the problem. I am talking about how the society operates subtly to charge people with different abilities into category and lock them in.
In fact, I will argue our internalization of the cultural safety in the use of language is the problem not the person asking questions that I have absolutely no idea why they are asking these questions.
We are practically living in a world where we absolutely commodified our inner world to be dictated by outer pressures of books. So we have become so fragile and any change in the environment throws us into a loop.
Ps. I get annoyed and irritated as anyone else when my safety bubble is burst on but often I slow down to see what is in front of me rather than throwing ridiculous words to make myself feel better. The older I got the more I see the grip of the societal rather than my own volition and ultimately this is what the psychiatry culture really wants to control.
The idea that psychiatry is like religion is euphemism. Religion is its own farce and coping mechanism in the society but to equate it to psychiatry is another way of manipulating the public. Religion is broadly accepted systems or beliefs in the society (we still have religious holidays, tax free churches, and no one is yet burning books of faith amass). Religion is more accepted than psychiatry because religion lost its power at the gate of entering in the law arena.
Personally, religion is external (they do not try to go inside your mind and assess), but psychiatry is both internal and external way of assessing a person and much more intrusive not to mention the medicalization of it too. One can believe God or not religiously, but one in psychiatry risks losing of ownership of one’s body! In religion, you may be at the mercy of some church. In psychiatry, you are at the mercy of an individual with the arsenal of the law. Recovering from religion abuse, you are applauded. To recover from psychiatry, you are ostracized.
To start the discourse or to continue the discourse of psychiatry is like religion is dishonest way of hiding the danger of psychiatry and at worse, it is a way to obfuscate the real problem of psychiatry which is its unlimited power over the individual’s life and freedom.
This is a multilayered topic as touched already by the author and the commenters.
First, I have never been committed or coerced but I am passionate about consent, culture and labeling!
To me people do not come forward for myriad of reasons from fear and already being destroyed to moving on with their trauma intact or finding relief some other way or truly believing the label and may even become advocate for this type of abuse of power and many layers in between. Some people forgot because maybe it was one off and do not want to dwell on it…limitless reasons.
One common thing in this type of experience, though, is the culture. The culture has a sense of safety internalized but not based on reality.
Anyone who is grabbed and handled by others would react with some violence or fear based reaction and then to justify the actions against such a person with medicating without consent under mental health and based on the decision the person was violent; It is abuse of power. But this abuse of power is given by the society we live in. We all believe in this.
We have safety sickness and any disturbance of the peace even yelling may get you committed – that is how safe we are! We just tell ourselves we are and hope it never happens to us.
I am vaccinated 3X but I fully 100% support non-vaxxers because they allow a part of me to resist the mass paranoia that could have set a precedent for fascism or for social control in the future under the premise of fear (again anything about loss of perceived safety). They stood their ground to say no to be medicated and they set the bar for our society that we do have the right to say no. But we all know how they were treated as if they lost their minds or were stupid. Why was that? Cause again we live in a culture that gets scared so easily. I am not underestimating the impact of pandemic, but my point still stands. We lose our minds when the machine signals for change!
The principle is the same. It is very complicated issue. People want to keep their lives intact but those of us who are not personally experienced can support and can advocate because we do not have the fear of backlash. I do not need to have cancer to support cancer related issues.
But again, everybody is afraid of being labeled for speaking up – the label is the biggest cultural weapon I have ever seen. One can be sick and have issues (who does not really) but the labeling is mind control and as another article spoke about the fakeness of ADHD reification. The seams are already being undone but these things take time. We are at the infancy of social media in the scheme of history. BLM and #Metoo all came roaring because they were same thing hiding in plain sight. I truly believe next one is DSM and labeling normal human behaviours as sickness but yet under the disguise of doctor’s care.
Because I am political person by nature, I will say this fight against labeling will have to be a white man’s first fight for diversity…get grassroots and find allies. Every other minority or oppressed people have their plates full already.
Those who are on the top of the figurative food chain, when they lose their privilege, then it is up to them to correct the course and what is better than taking a lead against policing their bodies and committing them against their will.
Join the club!
I just wanted to add to clarify few things: though I had familial trauma what stuck in my psyche was the cultural and religiosity indoctrination and when I sat in a room with a stranger (perhaps in my mind sitting as representation of society), my trigger was being brainwashed again; hence, my reaction and my recovery reflects that I do not like groupthink and I do not like people going into my mind to fiddle with without consensual and reciprocal relationship – non power imbalance….normal relationship.
But because my therapy was based in our individualism society which influenced me to balance my past, my experience and my reactions were invalidated because it felt as if I was avoiding responsibility when in fact (knowing what I know now), my culture, society, and the failure of my parents was the problem since I was a child during my trauma…My accountability and responsibility was I stood up to a very tight cultural and religion knit which showed me I may have been broken but I was not erased completely!
thomas Schnell December 31, 2022 at 9:46 am
Topher December 24, 2022 at 3:12 am
I used psychotherapy not meds.
I read many anti-psychiatry folks and using their knowledge especially David Cooper and Thomas Szasz and not to mention many other western philosophers after I started therapy cause I was confused and curious. This is how I ended up at MadinAmerica as well.
As someone who grew up in an extremely collective society, a mental condition has very high bar so to diagnose by a doctor (not a psychiatry), one does something so outrageous that everybody including the doer may agree there is an issue here. Some other mental conditions may be diagnosed mostly somatically. Anything else is managed by the family or relative. I am not saying this system is good…it has its many flaws and exploitations to be sure, but my point is at least behaviourally, I had no outward issues. As for symptoms, I was not even aware of them enough to call them symptoms. I went to therapy as part of my education, and I had childhood trauma (some worked through and some lingering in my psyche).
English is not my mother tongue, but I am affluent enough. So first for me at least, English language assumes high boundary, so people speak on surface level. in therapy, a second layer of communication is utilized, not what one said but one intended at least in the context is the focus. This may be called transference, or it is interpreted by the therapist etc.
In my culture, this is normal way of talking. People call out what we call defense mechanism here all the time (in some collective society the social policing is higher, and the boundaries are lower). This interpretation process may diminish the client’s cognitive function and may “shrink” the client to respond primary level processing of emotions and instincts to get to the source of pain. This may give the therapist a great overview observation without actually asking a real consent to access the client’s mind and of course one implication is they can diagnose you this level. There is a reason we have boundaries. This unspoken mind intrusion consent is not spoken about directly though probably legally everybody signs informed consent. The next one is the power to influence, again this consent to be influenced is not spoken about directly. I have to emphasize these are my personal experience and my trauma was this level. Other people may have other areas as their focal points and may differ how they may react or experience in therapy.
If one has trauma which basically means an intrusion to one’s mind, this type of relationship may be very triggering if the parameters of the game are not explicit. The elephant in the room is both client and therapist can be triggered but only the client is to benefit from the experience (therapy benefits is side affect). All these information is not discussed about. To me this created sort of double-bind thing that created my own childhood trauma, so I was impacted negatively for years in therapy.
I am not a good writer so to bring this home, I will share an excerpt from David Cooper that may touch what I am failing to convey.
According to D. Cooper’s the language of madness, the experience has some inherent issues of objectification that must be talked about, so they do not sullen the inter-subjectivity. One of the reasons not to have this level of transparency is power in the hands of psychiatry and psychotherapy tries to copy that. So Cooper continues to say, “the doctor forms an impression of the patient or ‘sums him up’ but at the same time the patient is forming an impression of the doctor, summing up the doctor who is summing him up; but then the doctor has to sum up the person who is summing him up to include….” (p.158). This can continue for a long time as you may sense already. I do not see this type of pattern working to better another without both knowing and acknowledging this is happening. And by being curious to notice, may land you a label or a diagnose. It is the double bind nature and the objectification of the client or patients that I found to be disturbing. To shut off this observation or suspend one’s cognition may require one to twist their logic into pretzel!
Therapy worked for me only because in all fairness, I had a solid and really safe relationship outside so my reality did not diminish but only until I educated myself did I see the benefits. Now the experience of therapy made me to learn all about therapy and I could utilize that knowledge to soothe some of the technical confusion but those who may not have same drive or same resources, then if their intelligence is crippled in the dynamic of therapy relationship, I would say psychotherapy may be harmful.
This sounded to my ears and to my eyes as follows:
“It seems the autistic may have tendencies to be more like communist and the fact that the going rate of diagnosis is 1 in every 30, they may become anti-capitalism in the future and try to dismantle our beloved system. We need to diagnose them more so when they become a political bloc, strong enough to change the labeling and diagnosing systems, we can scoop them up and call them crazy! Or disable”.
My sarcasm glasses are off now. Interesting choice of words that any co-morbidity to indicate neurodivergence was not mentioned.
My political bias is showing but I think we are all undermining what it means to be autistic and why it is coming to the surface now more and more powerful!
I think this phenomena of focusing others’ body parts is the culprit.
The fat phenomena is becoming more apparent because of the internet and the social media where “influencers” are all types and shapes and people realize everybody has something to say. Where before the internet, the gates for certain people were shut hard!
I think the issue is much deeper and has much bigger consequences for at least 50% of the population.
What am I getting at is all these ideas of noticing, commenting, leering, judging, touching (without consent – it happens a lot more to black and pregnant people), talking, and considering about a woman’s body is so primitive and frankly stupid! in our societies all over the world!
I will even go one step deeper and say – saying women are sexy, beautiful, fashionable, blonde, blue eyes, brown hair, brown eyes, tall, short, long hair…..why are we still talking about people’s bodies as if they are cattle? Does anyone enjoy for being told you are beautiful anymore? I would love to ask why?
It may sound a bit radical but why is this normal? Who said this is normal to focus on women’s body. We know the history of America and how they treated the slaves by objectifying their bodies for profit and then it switched to women afterwards…my thinking. I do not know much about the genesis of this fat medicalization but I bet it has something to do with profit…I can smell it.
I am on the fence now. I do not comment on anyone’s body shape or body related at work. If I notice a person’s body, I know my feelings about that and they are not something that I need to share with the person because frankly, my feelings show me how narrow I think.
How empty my mind is looking for something out there to latch on. So with my own stupidity on focusing others’ body parts, I realized the deep programming and started to challenge my own free flowing attention looking for something else. I no longer consider a compliment to validate a person’s body part! Sure compliments may feel good but also they feel cringe! I wanted to add a caveat that we can play with words and bodies but this requires understanding, relationship, and consent to comment on each others bodies…what I am focusing on my comment is the insidious and taken for granted of commenting on women’s body in everyday situations.
Idk where I am going with this but I think we need to really focus on what the person is saying, writing, thinking, and sharing than what a human may look like! We all determine we sort of all look alike…no one has their eyes on their toes!
Beauty is art not a person minding their own business.
PS. I know a body can be treated as an art but I am not talking about that. I am talking about this normalization of body comparing and mindless body focus as yours against mine mentality.
What a fascinating article!
Thank you for this link.
I google science to be precise with my comment:
“Science is the pursuit and application of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on evidence. Scientific methodology includes the following: Objective observation: Measurement and data (possibly although not necessarily using mathematics as a tool)”
If math is changed to tools and technology, I think the next step is people doubting about science (if not already) and this may be how nature corrects itself!
Evidence based on technology has many holes. One of those holes is unlimited data without controls and making decisions based on this data because the sheer amount of it will be too hard to resist for capital gain!
Either you want scientific society or technological society because very soon we may not be able to have both.
If I may add.
I think one thing I noticed about “diversity” in America, at least, is that it is superficial. It is superficial and requires a “certain look” rather than certain way of thinking or being. I would love to hear a white woman’s story that is different from the mainstream of I am rich and I am harmed by psychiatry! Or I am poor but educated narrative. I am very sure there are many different white women stories out there that would interest the masses.
The weird thing is psychiatry is also about policing the thinking and the being part of humanity.
Additionally, there is often this way of assuming that when there is a diverse, it means a poor black person? Can we really challenge this way of thinking? or at least add a qualifier consciously.
Rather than always thinking of diversity as ‘black’, diversity could be simply different experience that one does not expect from the given topic. Diversity could be coming to the western psychiatry from non-western mindset – ideas about developing of the mind (this type of stories may expand the discourse rather than against psychiatry directly). It could be language differences (speaking English has it is own impact on understanding diagnosis and labeling). It could be cultural like what is madness? It could be even deeper of what is trauma in the west and what is trauma in somewhere else?
I noticed these type of topics do not show up because they do not follow the above narrative of psychiatry. Ironically using the language of psychiatry, it is like identifying with the aggressor…MIA may become as narrow and as strict as the psychiatry itself. Nothing wrong with this if it is consciously challenged often and other views are allowed.
I will be more specific. Almost every personal story is from a person who takes certain perspective of being harmed, being victimized, and being seriously driven to madness in some cases but if one truly overcomes the experience, this type of diversity is not allowed or it is undervalued. The irony is, psychiatry also does not allow recovery only perpetual victimization and fear for obvious reasons!
If there is no recovery after psychiatry abuse, then MIA goal can be challenged.
Also, most people who recover would not want their names attached to their struggle if they want to published for obvious reasons. MIA could do so well if they can verify the writer but provide them protection to be quite frank about their story. I can see the need for having real stories that people are proud of and this may give MIA some reputation but at the end, most people who recovered from being driven to madness may want their privacy over sharing their stories. And if one never sees a recovery from psychiatry iatranogic, then there are no arguments to make.
I am sorry to criticize a website I visit often but I hope my criticism is not taken as hostility but more constructive!
Cheers and happy holidays and merry Christmas.
First I want to thank Stephan and Tsotso for this article and information sharing.
Secondly, I want to insert that regardless of ADHD diagnosis, many people lead wonderful lives and still manage their condition to their best ability with or without medications. It is important to state this so it is not all doomed all the time.
Thirdly, and I have said this before many times, has any of these researchers find those who have recognized or recovered from ADHD or many other conditions that affect one’s behaviour, thoughts, emotions and attention. I think without having anyone who ever recovered from these conditions defeats the point of looking for solution or understanding the other side of the coin. Any biological condition is verified by its existence and by its absence. We know something exist but how do we know when it is absent or removed?
I will leave you few things:
Our educational system seems to be set up in a such that the end game is to get a “job” not to live one’s life. It is to get work (not necessarily capitalisms since all cultures do this) regardless of if this work fits one’s attention or not. This seems one reason ADHD shows up in children. You put a child who can be a great creator with their hands in a reading class. It is obvious to me. Multiply that experience by 1000 layers of socializing that child. The child is broken down to work for the expense of society than to understand self. As an adult, the child/adult feel life has been lost because one was put into a system of socialization without their consent or permission and now has to pay the price. Who would not lose interest, attention and be depressed? Why some people but not others? Precisely some people are not supposed to be in this old dated educational system – we are evolving subtly. Evolution of human race has not stopped.
The second issue is we all sort of realize intuitively there are some mental health conditions that seem to lessen when we talk about them with others whom we pay (not necessarily a family member). This also seems to me to point a direction that perhaps there is a kernel of truth and talking (use of language) with another person works. It works to a point of realization and what to do after can be devastating to realize the loss of human potential. It may make the issues from the social construction obvious but it does not solve the hard problem of being middle age and struggling to control “attention” that was destroyed since grade school.
The third is combining these two areas into one: socialization and language development.
Both of these things are not tangible. One is layers and layers of interactions among humans that we call it construction or what, but it does impact on the embodiment of the person. The second is quite elusive. I called it the human condition since we are the only animal that has language as complex as ours. The road from amygdala to the prefrontal cortex is extremely impacted by the socialization and language development. Ask any immigrant of their experience of learning the new social and language (this is like a great learning for what a child may feel like becoming conscious of their socialization and language). The social attention is much faster than the language attention – this may be needs a research to sort it through.
I will give you an example: to say the fword in English when English is not your first language does not feel as deep (in the body) as those whose English is their first language? Why is that? Language is not mentioned often in mental health unless a person cannot talk but IMHO, language seems to me the human condition that underpins all. How it is related to attention is an interest of mine.
We do not know much about how language really develops and how it impacts on the body that supposed to hear itself. How does the body speak to the brain is different how the brain speaks to another brain and we often confuse these two parallel processes.
I do not have the answers that is why I am giving free associations to allow others to expand on their experiences.
I want to add this is my experience and opinion and I do not want to assume it is universal. But also I do have certain knowledge that I am applying.
I would love to see a research about when clients do not, refuse or unable to connect with therapist and how this may play out without disparaging clients.
If one had trauma from childhood where they never experienced trust and continued in life the same way. Why would any expectation be they need to bond with a relatively stranger to understand themselves or recover?
No adult should trust anyone they do not know to some extent. Most people trust doctors because it is one time off and if it is serious diagnosis like cancer, most people have tests or second opinion or a circle of care…
But when it comes to dissecting one’s most sacred organ (brain/mind), it is taken so superficially.
The bond that most therapists are confusing as attached to them is, in fact, a budding bond of one’s self to their body but this is removed aggressively to say no the client is bonding with the therapist. The reality is the client is actually bonding their fragmentation and are becoming more integrated. The importance of the therapist is gaslighting. Every experience should be focused on the client as if the therapist is an instrument or a tool not a flesh like a mother or father. Yes it is that mechanical because it is transactional and paid service not so different than your surgeon. This does not mean dehumanizing the therapist. It means the focus, the attention, the experience is focused on the client and the therapist person is a peripheral force guiding the experience to some extent (there is a limit of knowledge here).
If client says to the therapist I love you. Therapist job is to interject the projection back to the client not to take it as face value and run with it as a strong bond with the therapist. it can be both but a priviledged is given to the client’s benefit over the therapist’s triumph of success!
A successful therapy, one should not even remember the therapist. Remembering the therapist is a sign of certain harm because what supposed to be about the client is taken as the therapist. The client has internalized the therapist which is no different than internalizing an ex whom you are no longer with. As in budda practice, the adult’s maturity is to let go of internalizations as we mature to live in the moment, in the present to experience life as if it is now. Trauma is internalizing those who harmed the clients and no replacement is needed. Thank you
A lot of education and information in this interview but I could not help make few observations.
One of them (and there are many):
“The average doctor hasn’t got skin in the game. So the trick is how to get him to think it was his idea but you were the one who was feeding it to him.”
How exhausting not only one is depressed and anxious and afraid for their lives but; on the top of that, one also has to worry about the doctor’s ego and status in the society.
Think of power structure like this like racism, sexism and classism…why would the powerful entity give up their power or even care about you?
Imagine thinking this way about your surgeon! Does not work?
We really have to stay at the base: the power structure of psychiatry is the root of the issue…everything else seems to me peripheral.
Just my personal opinion on this article. I did learn a lot about the pharmaceutical issue but was blinded by the underlying issue.
First I want to say thank you for sharing your story. It is about time we focus on this issue of poor therapists and take the lid off!
Second, the whole forgive those who abused you is religion based not reality based so any therapists that is not willing to guide a client in this spectrum of cutting ties to being in relationship is not serving their clients. How severe of the relationship is determined by one person: client! Not the therapist to make any assessment on that.
Now, the other thing I want to point out is this: I am happy for you to terminate this therapy which is itself a symbolic way of also cutting the relationship with your family.
It is almost the therapist intruding into your boundary gave you the courage to cut them off and then cut off those who abused you. Sometimes what happens in therapy is the healing.
You are in recovery because you stood up for yourself twice: in therapy and in real life!
What is REM in this article?
I think all these old theories are no longer working. Just like you mentioned that physical health – we created gyms and all new world of dealing with it. Same for dental, we created many new ways a person can do their own thing including buying a night guard, flossing, and seeing a hygienist few times a year. All these industries are sharing power. A dentist is a doctor and we cannot do their job but the system gave the individual some autonomy for maintenance.
Only mental health is the one area, where a person loses autonomy and power to know their bodies and the only acceptable thing is often seeing a therapist or a psychiatrist and when a person gets sick, just locked them up.
My theory is actually to challenge what is trauma? We need a real definition of trauma without confusion.
My theory is this back to basics.
We are born as animals and develop mind. Often trauma happens prior to the mind development, hence why it is very difficult to know what is trauma. So let us do research on what is trauma in the body. Not just repeating the same old tired of survival responses (flight, fight, freeze)…what are they on the body on the corporeal? We should not use words without source of materialism. If a doctor says a person’s response is freezing, they need to teach exactly what is freezing so the person can learn, observe and improve.
Doctors are keeping knowledge and then wondering why people are not happy with them? People know more about cancer than a functional freeze response…why is that?
But now, unfortunately mental health is a metaphor – meaning saying something that means something other than what we are saying it is! you see the problem right there!
What is the source of the metaphor of mental illness? Why animals do not get bipolar but people do? How do animals deal with the source of mental illness? Going back to the body to teach people how to read their bodies. I think the problem of doing this is many but the biggest is cause doctors do not know their bodies as well.
Let us go back to the board of determining what is mental illness. Otherwise, I feel we are just scratching the surface and discussing about words and lexicons.
If I may, I will posit that the whole idea of mental health being anomaly is the problem.
How does a doctor know they do not have mental illness? This is a simple question. If one cannot prove they are healthy, then one cannot judge what is health versus mental illness.
It is so lopsided.
Another question: What do racism and mental illness have in common?
Both disregard human body and autonomy.
The paradigm shift that I foresee is not pathologizing subjectivity and freeing the body by focusing on its health rather than focusing on the mind (after all the mind is developed much later than the body).
The brain is information hub. Information comes from the body. Just like the heart circulates blood that was made in the bones.
We are so confused, it is embarrassing.
Probably not going to work and spending time with others “felt” safe in most people’s bodies regardless of feelings of being alone and/or lonely.
Anxiety is not from the bear in the forest but from others. It is social impact so perhaps everybody was relieved for a while.
This line rocks! “Because the client is actually trying to wake up the therapist.”
I agree 100%
In training school, at least the one I attended, the idea was to be in a group and do not use logic, rational or cognition for many years – only emotions and feelings.
So we were all broken down to our child parts (no adult only uses emotions and affects in real life). The problem is not that we were shown how our child parts acted or were (which was good) but that the progression of the program never allowed the reality of the break of cognition to be discussed. It was called just being indirect therapy! This does not work in training though cause I hope we could all see but couldn’t discuss.
It was like no rational. No logic. no cognition for many years and then graduate. So most therapists are not fully integrated their affects, emotions and logic and then do the same to the clients because the integration of emotions and logic was not completed at training.
The client walks in. the therapist functions as the cognition. The client is reduced (shrank) to emotions and feelings alone for years – they become super vulnerable cause they sort of de-value their own thinking taken by the therapist (or become unconscious and fall into power imbalance situation) – and they start to depend on the therapist for the thinking.
Unfortunately, full dissociation!
so when the client finally gives the crown to the therapist and admits full dependence, they may be told they are healed because they experience real attachment. And therapists will laugh about it in supervision or with their colleagues how they made the clients experienced attachment which is really just brainwashing form in adult or narcissistic methods used by narcissistically inclined people. No difference in mechanism but therapists will say different in meaning!
Ps. I did recover in making sense of my trauma and making peace with my grieving in therapy but with one caveat – I did not seek validation of the therapist person. I used the approach of what is technically called Ernst Kris’s concept of Regression in the service of the ego BUT I had a lot of support outside of therapy to pull it off meaning I could easily get back to reality after therapy session. But I could only do this because I was being trained.
I think the whole point of making depression a person’s issue rather than a society’s failure may be the culprit but that may scare people and make people feel so powerless so just beat down the dead horse of an individual living in sick society!
The question is not about “effective” treatment but what is in the environment supporting this in the individual?
And if you do mentalization or reflective thinking and labelled as BPD, oopsie, you are mind reading now!
No way out!
Wow! L. Hansen – THANK YOU for sharing this story.
I wrote a comment one time about this exact issue and MadInAmerica decided not to post. Maybe it was too much for publication. Most people do not want to see what we call mental health is really cultural way of programming people.
In my incident, I thought I was going to have a psychosis and ended up with what I can only call an awakening. I had therapist and was leading extremely content life…I left therapy for good after this incident.
My consciousness increased so much and so fast over 6 weeks or so and I was shocked! in a positive way. I was so afraid of losing my mind and then boom, my world view changed and then I was back to normal baseline but have this incredible memory cause I documented in writing and I enjoyed it during.
I am noticing when you are having psychosis, you are also having a lot of real issues in life so perhaps this emotional upheavals are directing your awakening in different framework than you could if you had them while you are relatively happy or content. I agree with your hesitance of having bipolar…
When mine happened, I did not even know what mania was but since then, I realized that I got a bit mania when I eat the edibles (whatever that means) to me I become quite creative and ideas and concepts make sense to me easier. I came to see psychosis and awakening – same coin different side.
Imagine a culture where “unconscious” and “childhood experience determining your adult experience baseline” mantras do not exist and one does not have the burden of carrying everything you do is because you had/have a traumatic childhood.
I grew up in such culture somewhere out there. Adult is the beginning and end. It is harsh if you have trauma. The understanding of adulthood is expanded to include a lot of behaviours that we consider here abhorrence like getting angry, or refusing to work etc.
Community dependence was higher. Relationships are not commodity at all but are from mainly by blood or by marriage.
Now, I recovered from childhood trauma here in the west by starting to believe the two mantras above.
The only thing I can add to the discussion here is that believing these two mantras as an adult had some advantage and I can still see clearly how it may paralyze any recovery talk. What I did know gave me whole new ways of coping with my trauma that are not suitable for our collective culture here.
The crux of my recovery is shown two areas: my physical senses are heightened than they were before – my vision, my hearing, my touch sense, my smell and my muscle movement are all softer and better functioning (though I did not know they were dulled before). Second, my consciousness is much higher than it was before to the point of becoming conscious about the gap between my sensations and feelings and my perception and cognition (which was malfunctioning unconsciously)…knowing that gap has changed my impulse control which again I was not even knowledgeable before. It also unleashed some energy that makes me learn things faster than before. Before I was not a good learner or it would take me ridiculous amount of time to learn little things.
There is not a single word of “body” in this article.
I do not necessarily disagree what is being said here and there is something to admire about the breakdown of the mind but unfortunately without a body (at least in this life), there is no mind.
So it is important to note skepticism or faith or lack of them, one must actually believe one thing and use that as grounding – the corporeal! The body is much more richer than the mind and can pull us to the ground when we fly away!
The reason we lose our minds is we lost connection to the corporeal which is often communicating with us much earlier before we go poof!
Just my opinion. I do not have a link to support – would that be a faith? (-:
Westerners go to therapy asking “I need my family to validate me and I want the therapist to validate my story”. Need for validation is strong. Independence is conscious but not valued intrinsically.
Immigrants who live in the West go to therapy asking “I am tired of my family’s involvement and what do I need to learn to stop” family validation is conscious but not valued as much. Independence is unconscious and sought after desperately.
Social Media is balancing this out quite spectacular ways if you want to see it.
We are all limping.
May this be the tipping point!
love it or hate the social media but one area that I think it will show its most impact is how do we move forward of psychiatry and its secrecy. Next, people need to record doctors talking and publish!
Someone said (I think maybe it was Lacan) that we are prisoners of language. Language is prison because it is precisely the source of narcissism. One may ask why narcissism adapted evolutionary – because it contains the language gene or trait or whatever you call it.
If you know anyone who may be very high on narcissism, you will see they talk a lot and their use of language is mind’cutlery’ No matter what you say, they will say opposite and when you say opposite anticipating their tactics, they will say that is not what they are saying. It is circular and you cannot get out unless you LEAVE. This is why only no contact works with them.
Narcissism = language ability and has a degree of healthy to weird land. The reason it hurts when we encounter a high narc person is because they obfuscate language to put us in a double bind. The ultimate goal is power unconsciously.
So the psychiatry training is narcissism with weapon of medications and having extra judicial powers. Most powerful medical doctor is not cardiologist or a surgeon but a psychiatrist because they can take away your freedom and reputation!
At the end if you do not agree with them, then that means you are truly insane! And if you act as ‘sane’ as possible, then you are truly suffering narcissism. No way out after you encounter a psychiatrist.
A psychiatrist says I am treating you things that are normal by using a language that is pure narcissism making.
Here is the breakdown of most common human states that are maligned by mental health professionals. I am not saying these states of body and mind do not hurt. They hurt worse than a colon inflammation, but the shame, the blame, and the stigma is the bigger problem. You may say these are all my interpretation, but I would argue my interpretation is much closer to the real thing than being told you are worthless for having human experience. We all experience this consciously or unconsciously. Just part of living on earth as a flesh.
Depression (attempt for update some integration – it is a wake dreaming. I call it offline). Anxiety (re-presentation/image imagination – a thought without a prior knowledge RE-presentation). Hallucination (body/senses imagination also without original source/pure creativity). Delusion (interpersonal/metaphor/language imagination). Mania (energy surplus – overflowing attention). Panic (cry for self-recognition/consciousness). Paranoia (risk calculation imagination). Psychosis (attempt for transcendence or integration or switch between prior identification and authenticity). Schizophrenia state is the ultimate human state without socialization/culture and the next frontier if we give a chance to hear them without value laden attention and judgement.
We all have these states whether we are aware of them or not. Psychiatry makes normal human states into commodity. I think we are slowly but surely getting closer to change.
Maybe ask for those who recovered or reached a milestone that is manageable and hear what they have to say.
Otherwise, it is just bullying words to submit people into helplessness and hopelessness.
There are few observations I made:
The culture say we are responsible for our feelings and thoughts because we are responsible for ourselves and everything that happens to us.
The culture also says “share your feelings and thoughts” with a psychiatrist who makes a “judgement call” and gives you a label based on your thoughts and feelings not on your behaviour or the serious situation you found yourself in the culture – capitalism.
because your “behaviour” may be you are working, living, struggling but still paying the person who is telling you that you are sick or buying extreme expensive medications when in fact, you are experiencing oppression at home or in the society.
This is called double-bind: You are an individual responsible for everything that happens to you and when you share your inner thoughts and feelings and that person says you are mental, that is your doing. No winning here!
It is almost as if the cure is: do not give a person access to your thoughts and feelings but your behaviours (which is what others see and what you might be judged by). Example, you say there is structural racism and you cannot get a job. No one should ask you what is your inner thoughts and feelings and then say, ooh you are the problem! This is crazy making. A more humane way would have been tell me what is happening in these places where you are applying jobs and let us talk about how to maneuver in this system! but that may get the psychiatrist not an income!
What happens is the person is obviously pissed off about the situation and the psychiatrist says well the problem is you are pissed off (my LOL here because that piss may be labeled an ambiguous scientific sounding name to make it interesting) and until you stop being pissed off, the problem remains. I mean talk about gaslighting!
This is a nutshell of psychiatry.
Feelings and thoughts do not need medications! behaviours do not need medications. Medications should be saved for an inflammation that is also obvious to the owner of the body….
But we cannot give that sort of power to the individual! oopsie but we can convince them they are individual until we say otherwise!
“Consider what’s known as Reverse Othello Syndrome. This is the delusional belief that one’s partner is sexually faithful, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Why would someone ever form this idea?”
I would love to see more context for this type of thought experiments acting like real life experience. Anyone who is in “denial” not in delusion in situation as explained before may have other reasons that are not visible or known to the experimenter.
So I would not call it delusion in this case, but I would observe it as a person who sees the reality of their relationship but for reasons unknown to me or the experimenter; this person decides not to act as expected. That would be my conclusion rather than saying they are delusional!
Everything in the mind is separate in degrees so what is the normal things about “delusion” that people do or do not do that may look like “delusion” in someone considered ill. Just curious.
I just want to reiterate that my comment or goal in life is not to say individualism is better than collectivist/community/familial/society or vice versa etc. Only that as I quote myself here from my initial comment: “Now, we are realizing that what we need is a real balance of between individualism and universalism of humanity in the person.” The key word is these two oscillating phenomena must be recognized in the person!
I agree with you.
I am not born in the west and grew up extremely collective society (talk about mindforkery). If in the western mindset, depression is the best for defense against whatever life is throwing at people; in collective mindset, it is dissociation of the self altogether (you are erased for the masses). If guilt/shame is a thing in the individualism society; in the collective it is lack of empathy vs tribal. Maybe this is why life is not as valued in a lot of these countries.
So I got you.
I came here in the west and adapted quite successfully in my mental health but not without first breaking through the collective mindset but I also realized that thinking as individual to the extreme is not the solution! This is the biggest scam sold in capitalism society. The individual is so great and unique and such. Where in the collectivism, if you are in pain, you are shown a person who has it worse than you to silence you.
What I am saying is this: we are individuals but also social/attached to others and we cannot really just run in life with one wheel.
When a baby is born, they cry for attachment. We as adult we cry for attachment but we also need our space, selfhood, individualism, BOUNDARIES! and creative force but we also need others just as much TO LEARN, to challenge our mind, to become more conscious of our environment including others.
it is not one or the other as it is sold to us. It is both and moderately and consciously.
So I do not disagree with you at all. I am promoting moderation of the mind and its environment (environment including others – humans).
“I don’t know what’s happened to us, we fear individuality.”
I wonder if this is the problem then why bother psychotherapy that requires another person’s presence and input?
I think one of the problems is the western view of “individualism” is failing (which was created for production and wealth making of capitalism). Now, we are realizing that we need is a real balance of individualism and universalism of humanity in the person. We fear of universality. Just use “we” in a sentence in this comment section, and you will see people go berserk! even though everybody knows “we” is just figuratively speech word not literal meaning!
The huge oscillating of high and low emotional dysregulation seems to me is high on individual and low of collectivism. And often, people recover during collectivism phase – with others’ support and love! and often we put people in hospital and increase their isolation that created the issue in the first place!
Almost everybody who recovered from mental health agrees: the common denominator is love and acceptance. So in fact Dr. with due respect, individualism alone is the problem not the solution!
My point about the parents is being taken out of context, maybe. Parents cannot teach ‘everything’ to the child. Parents are not perfect either – sickness, mis-attunement, busyness, divorce, life…can all make a parent not to be 100% attending to a child – so the child’s subjective experience may need other minds to develop fully and healthly.
The first experience of humanity for anyone is their parents/caretakers so they leave an imprint of something – the experience.
A simple parent going back to work after having a child can be a huge deal for a baby’s subjective experience. All these things (the good and the bad) show up in therapy in various and clever ways.
My point was most likely a LGBTQ client already found how different they are from a parent or a sibling so their mind or their identification is unique in some ways or is ignited earlier in the development. Since that pathway has already been laid, I would not be surprised if going through therapy, they are more prone to appreciate their unique human being experience in many different ways than a hetero person who lives in the majority society.
To add a bit more about the parent. My point is the parent start the socialization, followed by extended families, friends/adults (school or daycare age), and then the socialization goes on …
The group in this article, most likely have at least one of this group invalidating their existence, identification, and/or personhood….that experience can make or a break a person. So in therapy is another validating, identifying and socialization process.
That is all. The “hero” thing is very American. There is no hero journey…it is very masculine idea born out of the wild wild west of the American settlers!
Thank you for responding.
Language is extremely important for healing. I think an adult may or may not need attachment but all adults need safety. When we confuse the two due to our cultural lenses, then of course a person told to believe they “need secure attachment” as an adult and failing at that would focus on making sure the environment is extremely safe.
First, I am so sorry this happened to you and I could feel the powerless part . I honestly could not read with normal tension after the husband told you “You are beautiful”. Yikes!
But I want to also just make an observation that you stated the woman is a doctor so many times, I wonder if your own value of hierarchy and profession is skewed and affected your own intuition and instincts? The idealization of your parents may be something they picked on like vulture.
They included you in their weird cultish event because you were the perfect victim – a transition person leaving the country shortly.
To know in advance for this type of people is quite simple. Not doing this type of work with family group (you were outnumbered). Having contracts to sign so you have a list of things to do and not do – no contract no regulation not doing it. To do it with others who are not related to the therapist. And not to do it in countries where one does not have much of rights or time to live in there long term.
I do not know how others may do it but for me…perhaps having a person I know and trust who is not doing the drug may have helped.
I think unfortunately your trusting nature met with a exploiters who took full advantage of your stressful time (selling house in foreign land and pandemic)….they are predators! You probably avoided a serious grooming to trap others for them. It seems they were recruiting.
I am in a hetero relationship but do not consider myself hetero. I see clients and I can make a comment about why LGBQT+++ may respond better in therapy. My humble opinion is that this group is already one level of consciousness ahead of the same hetero group due the fact they already stepped out of the cultural zones that they were brought up for the mere fact of having different sexual orientation. That resilience to stand on their ground against their own parents (the biggest influence) – is a great indication and prognosis that they are more open to change and imagine outside of the box.
Hetero (again as general since I am not talking about anyone particular) have not challenged their basic templates so the support for them to make a change is a bit steeper.
One of the biggest issue in therapy is most people cannot differentiate their thoughts and the reality of their parents or childhood experiences. A typical hetero client will spend years defending “thoughts” of a good parent rather than accepting the parents who raised them and (maybe did some bad decision) can be same parent that love them today. They fight against guilt of having a bad thought or saying a bad thing about the parents who are not in the room.
Most LGBQT+++ have a sense of difference about their parents because at some point very young – they realize how different they truly are not only from their parents but from their peers too. That deep growth of the mind is priceless.
A general statement.
I read that article on the original posting and commented empathically on the subjects covered and was shocked and dismayed with the anger and finger pointing in the comments. I was even angry the highest rated comment was hostile and anti-social – how is this different than what the people were accusing of the those in the article?
There are many but few “fake truths” that people really need good pushback:
You cannot cure trauma
You cannot cure anything on the bible (DSM)
Top down therapeutic styles (based on Freud) that masquerade as “person centered” as if adults learn like children (they do not for very obvious reasons)
This confusion/argument of mental health – biology vs societal
The fear of Peer Support and ostracizing them
The covert shame of mental illness (how is this different than honor system shame – they do not all kill – you know…they shame you to do the honors) How are we different? I grew up in that type of culture and find our western sensibilities more subtle, veneer of politeness, and just plain sadistic.
I could go on but I think I am repeating myself.
This is very good article of deconstructing the mainstream media which only publishes articles to appease the click trigger, who makes enough money to keep commenting during work hours, and who is also ironically on meds for something (no shame but why throw rocks!).
NYT could have easily link the subjects who provided their pictures and full name a bio link so they do not get harassed online! Shame on NYT and us – the society that rewards this type of punishment.
Thank you again for breaking it down so we can see through the ridiculous ways we are controlled by sheer information systems.
I respect this doctor because definitely he is on the right course of discourse about mental health, illness, sickness etc.
But I will say something that may rub some people off.
Either you have biological (and everything is biological including thoughts) or you have social condition. If you are complaining about something, the solution or the acceptance will either be biological equilibrium or social change. Example can be you recover from trauma, or you divorce your spouse who has been “staining” your social sphere.
Recovering from childhood trauma, at minimum, in my experience (and I am not special or unique or hugely different), is that it was something cleared up in my brain. All of sudden, I started to see things differently and I felt the rush in my brain and can pinpoint where the rush happened but since then, I saw my childhood trauma differently. This convinced me my “blocked” was biological, but it needed my own understanding and patience to unlock.
I never had depression, anxiety, or psychosis at the clinical level (whatever that even means). I am highly functional and highly open to experiences and did well considering my beginning of life was hell (that may be even understatement). But when reached out for therapy, I was diagnosed with ptsd. I laughed cause it was a place holder for invoicing IMHO. I have had experiences that are listed but no flashback, no nightmare, no phobia, no anxiety, no fear, nothing…just the words were thrown at me and I put it on the side and went to work what I needed.
I think this argument biological versus non-biological argument is distraction.
I was very highly normal socially. I worked hard. I made money and took full advantage of the capital society (I am a great immigrant) and I am physically healthy or so I thought…but childhood trauma is physical…it is not just in the brain. It is in the body – mainly I will say in the muscles. So we cannot throw the baby with the bath. – whatever that expression is.
If you are “hurting” something must be “healed”. And that is biological pain being removed. My two tiny cents but not need for medication if this is ultimately what the argument is. Never took one and do not know tomorrow.
I would like to hear from a person/people who has been into therapy and can list exactly what was “hurting” before that has “healed” in psychotherapy.
The reason a lot of people have problem or difficulties in understanding psychotherapy is that:
Those who recovered cannot articulate exactly what happened (the experience is a fog). But seem to be convinced something happened that is inarticulate and often they are still struggling or still in therapy but their belief of being “helped” is strong.
Those who did not recover have hard time finding what may work or struggle with the process.
Until there is a real experience of a person who recovered and can articulate what exactly worked, it is no different than seeing a shaman (and even this is stretch) because shaman process does not take years.
almost every research is from the POV of the therapists/researches. I need a real experience of recovery from a real person.
I am curious how others truly recover in psychotherapy.
The basic tenet of therapy (psychiatrist or other forms) is to ensure the client is empowered but often the client is reduced or shrunk to obedience, compliance, and validation/approval hungry. I think this is how we keep peace. If everybody is reduced to compliant, then complaining is diagnosable and no one needs to hear your voice cause well you are not following the rules. It is double bind at its finest.
I see so many people who experience and believe the love for their doctors at the expense of experiencing love outside of medical industry.
The irony of the culture vs race as noted by Truth793810 is that outside of USA: there is no difference between black and white Americans to the rest of the world.
White Americans think they are so different from black Americans until they go abroad and people project the American culture that the whites think is black culture. It is often hilarious event to see if it was not also painfully so true.
Culture in therapy is more about the mindset, the belief systems, the meaning of mental health itself, the meaning of healing, the meaning of trauma, and the nuance of power between people (authority or otherwise), and real definitions of body and mind etc.
In therapy, I want to add, yes black and whites of America are different inside the country but often the main issue is blacks see themselves as whites see them versus who they are without the whites’ projections. Very different stance in the mindset.
Deep stuff that is not often easy to see.
I am one of those people that truly believes we all have experiences and that my experiences is not my identity or a mole on my forehead.
Therefore, I recovered from a severe childhood trauma – a major experience. I recovered both in living long enough and using therapy though (the latter) there were many hits and misses – the overall experience worked for me.
Now I am helping others. Should I often tell them my experience? No because my experience has absolutely no bearing on theirs (that happened) prior to meeting me. However, if they ask me directly, based on my own creation of boundaries, ethical obligation, and such, I will answer as truthfully as I can.
All these identification is another way to put people in a box and to abuse them and to undermine them. AND ultimately to control their subjectivity and thoughts for good.
What I mean the latter comment is that for me to give you my history, I am giving you a power to use it in your own way. This non-challenged trust in authority is a major problem for anyone dealing “loss of self power” which is ultimately what mental illness mounts to at least in my experience – see how narrow my experience of mental condition is. That is my experience and sharing with others to induce trust in them would not be justice in my mind.
I want them to grow, be creative, be who they are or want to be not model after me.
However, I want to close this comment that I really appreciate those who feel their experience is helpful to others in this vulnerable way. I am sharing my comment for the same reason – sharing my experience in non-vulnerable way to relate.
I think the biggest problem is – we are no longer able to specify what is mental health actually?
So now everybody is filling the blanks with every feeling they do not like and call it trauma or mental condition.
We need a mental words that keep feelings for what they are – bodily information telling you what you need to do next or what is going on in your environment. Feelings are not here to give you a personality disorder or identity crisis.
To put it plainly, in the rest of the world, often they are more realistic of being or feeling powerless (due to societal pressure that we are unconscious of or prefer to minimize) and one of the most defended feeling in the west is powerlessness and this extreme denial of individual powerlessness is the culprit.
In the west, if you complain about the society (racism, sexism), often, you are chided. The rest of the world lives in ecosystem where individual free will is as good as one of the legs of the centipede.
We, also, sale this individual overcoming life’s obstacles by making so much money and achieving so much in life monetarily so often that the world immigration is usually one way from east to west.
Also another layer of most English speaking AKA western philosophy thinking world is that achievement of one is prized over familial and belonging achievement because we easily commodify the belonging to “mental health” so we can focus on capitalisms.
The word “mental health” is so convoluted, I will bet the rest of world does not define it as we do it here.
However, due to internet, and social media, I think we are more or less becoming so similar cause sometimes one does not know what is missing until one sees it online. So give it a time.
I think lived experience without competency, accountability, ethics, knowledge, wisdom, empathy, and personal responsibility will just be another way of doing psychiatry and calling it “lived experience”. Most lived experience people do not even know what worked for them.
I like to go further and suggest (as if anyone will actually listen), that when people have psychosis, do not put medications on them (these medications are not for the person often but for the doers peace of mind or for the society), do not separate them from one person that they trust, and do not keep them incarcerated in the hospital after they are back to reality no matter what your feelings/thoughts are if they are back and want to go home, and there is no crime, let them go home or whatever they want to go shelter, streets etc. Let them come back if they feel, but do not force externally.
Psychoses is more than losing reality. It is loss of power both internally and externally and the involuntarily process exacerbates this power imbalance further by double downing on it and adding aggression and violent treatment without consent! How is this helpful? Most people I met come back from these experience broken more and bitter!
The process of involuntarily confinement can be soften, personalized, include trusted friends or family members, and be less medicalized or zero medicalized. I think these will work better than just getting rid profession. I am very much basing this on the knowledge gained from Milgram experiment and the likes. Lived experience with power will most likely act the same way as psychiatrist given enough time. The system needs to change. Those in confinement in the hospital need to be treated with respect and humanity and involve their own recovery. They are not stupid. They are just in extreme pain that none of us can understand.
I never experience psychosis myself (so I cannt say I am lived experience expert), but I have seen enough treatment of those who lose reality and the loss of empathy of the masses (including doctors and society) as if we are immune to this or above it.
We are not.
Szasz did not go hard against psychiatry because he is psychiatrist who believes his clients. I think he even made a comment that he waited until he had freedom of profession, reputation to say what he needed.
Capitalist vs marxist arguments are so futile and often so dishonest. A country cannot live one without the other. You all can make millions of dollars but you still need a highway, a hospital, and an airport that is built for the collective.
To make this argument is painful because it splits the mind. We are individualist society to a point but also collective cause we have children, families, and friends and work with others. We aint living up in the mountains anymore!
Even our mind is not individual. Think hard and think what you are thinking about most of the time – hopefully not all the time. You are not thinking of your dog, or a tree but others and others and you – so even the mind is not individualist but collective of you and others. It has a clear collective and individualism parts (it belongs to you) but it also carries others, as memories, as representations etc! After some real pure love, can you empty the mind. Then you empty the mind but still you need others for even when you die, someone must bury you! somehow! The collective remains.
Those who may not need psychiatry, somehow, accept this dualities and got busy doing something else.
Szazs is saying, from my understanding, people lose their minds sometimes but only when we collectively say so. There are many places on earth where having bipolar or depression is not seen as a thing but just part of life…no one is pointing figures, there is no shame (the pointing the finger from the others), and one has their families and work and life and go on…Just some are very sick and hopefully have a family person to take care of them – we cannot run away from others – the collective!
but here, we give the depression or the label of bipolar an individuality and make them into an entity and of course it is hard to lose this titles no matter what one does because we tell them you are your own – individual and responsible what happens inside of you and what happens outside of you! we create a hard closed system that would give anyone a real madness! cause no way out!
The truth is sometimes the collective causes madness (by erasing you to priviledge everybody else) and sometimes the individual system causes madness (making you responsible for everything internal and external) and sometimes both combined (creating a whole system – psychiatry – that is given so much power legally and socially).
Step back like Szasz did and it is a farce until you fell into he system – then a nightmare!
As long as we are not addressing “power” between two people where one person provides service and the other payment and yet the payee is “powerless” = western type therapy are bound to be harmful or inhibitions or label making business and as we become more diverse, more useless.
The process of therapy is set in a way to provide imbalance of power between two people and never addressing the “pink elephant” and getting lost all the emotions, feelings, thoughts arising from that source but ignoring = gas lighting. I think enough people on this website wrote much better way of expressing what I am getting.
Anyone who ever had trauma knows: the loss of inner power was the traumatic thing not because one forgot how to emote.
Maybe this method is not good cause it may create a real consciousness in the room.
““Mental Health” Is a Euphemism for Policing Social Deviance”
I would say not deviance. Let us be quite frank we live one of the safest countries (west) in the world. I know safety and stability are relative terms but we are MUCH better off than MOST of the population in the world.
So there is no much deviance here than anywhere else BUT what mental health is policing instincts, policing against freedom of the individual (just in case individual sees the real economic differences and unfairness, and injustice of our minority).
If you come outside of this culture and look at it with fresh eyes, you will see the whole mental health system is engineering of societal toward busyness, materialist (it is one of the biggest businesses), focus on feelings and gratification (even though it is put as if delaying gratification), and avoid real impacts of life (politics, culture, thinking of others).
So IMHO, the system is increase silo and internalize empathy, almost commercialize empathy and unfortunately this creates the deviance that is being avoided.
I am often a bit surprised with this narrative about “class” in psychotherapy.
IMHO, psychotherapy seems to me is for certain class. If we are talking about “talk therapy”, it is mainly for middle or upper class. I do not know many people who can easily afford psychologist or psychotherapist charging enormous amount unless they are in jail and or mandated.
So who are these “poor” utilizing psychotherapy that are often being looked down on. I can see medicalizing but not so much talk therapy.
I only see in articles and do not know many poor people having talk therapy and I have been involved in poorer communities for many years.
They cannt even afford and that is the biggest problem.
“The most obvious explanation for our results would be that clinical judgment, because of a bias toward positive treatment outcomes, tends not to reliably detect negative outcomes from the patient’s perspective,”
This idea the giver of services looks at the service of giving mainly from their perspective rather than the receiver’s is such a huge problem and one of the biggest harm producing in psychotherapy.
The therapist really needs to be more of instrumental in the process of giving service than “gainer” of the experience.
If you ever listen to most therapist, their reference is often their POV, their feelings, their interjections more than the client’s.
I agree with you to a point that mental disorder or mental illness are not disability but the way you are going about is a problem.
Before we abandon professional vs patient paradigm, maybe we need to discuss more and find common ground. “I was one who naively reached out for help several years ago, but fortunately I rejected the “treatment” at the beginning of my exposure to the system. “This experience of yours is quite commendable and may shed some light on what others are trying to tell you. The most glaring question is what did you reject? Be generous we may learn something from you that is quite useful.
Before we talk about mental disorder and mental illness, perhaps, it would serve the public better or more beneficial, if we agree what is normal? What is health? What are the difference between behaviour arising from normal versus one arising from mental illness and/or mental disorder? What is the difference of completely unable to function versus function at low capacity versus high capacity? Function in this context means: having a job, family, friends, and means to pay for services versus missing one or all of those factors? Why behaviour is not considered? If you are a doctor suffering depression (taking meds/therapy), you are not the same as a person unable to work due to depression – your behaviours of supposedly same condition is extremely different. So, the question is do you really both have depression? What is depression?
Iatrogenesis means from my experience – if you can heal with words, you can harm with words. If you are arguing against that , please state your position. I think and I could be wrong but your rejection of treatment was probably your own subconscious of realizing the process is biased toward healing and is unconscious of its harm.
About the pain, suffering etc, rather than putting everything under “mental”, perhaps secondary issues arising from mental disorder versus mental illness may alleviate the confusion. I know reduction is frown upon but there are layers to humanity so which one came first the chicken (depression) or the egg (unable to join the society in any meaningful way).
Beliefs/perspectives, your example of atheist is straw man’s argument. I will put it this way. As I mentioned above, every single mental condition has extremes: you can have diagnoses for bipolar and be highly functioning person versus bipolar and unable to hold anything. What is the difference between these two situations? If you cannot answer this then the problem is beliefs, culture, subjectivity, objectivity, level of consciousness, experience, maturity, upbringing, and genetics plus infinite factors.
What is causing the problem is the definition of conditions. Depression makes no sense if one person can work successfully and even in all appearance of purpose has everything while another one is falling through cracks and is struggling with basics of life – getting up in the morning.
Psychotherapy is 100% cultural. I came from a country where this does not exist and visited many others where psychotherapy does not exist.
For example, transference – the biggest tool (mind reading basically by another name) is a common communication style in many countries where the official language of the tribes are oral. In the west, a therapist will tell you what you are projecting, but outside of the room, if you do, you are practicing magical thinking. I wish I was comedian.
Most mental illness, IMHO, is child’s wisdom thwarted (aside from a trauma related) during development. If anyone actually listens carefully to delusions and hallucinations, they may hear and the may see the real person in there clearly. But it is much easier to label so everybody else knows your inner mind status!
Girl let me know tell you something – what you are describing as harm is pure iatrogenic!
You sound extremely amazing human. Period. Nothing to add.
I always love your extremely insightful take of this process. I wonder honestly why you are not a therapist yourself?
Every single thing you write here I had similar experience that I could never put into words as you have. I am very sorry this happened to you.
That feeling of guilt that is induced in therapy is also what most therapist consider healing – cause it keeps us inline with society! As long as we are feeling guilty of something, we will never do anything against the grain – like leaving therapy cause we are all dependent and professional dependency replaces the mother.
Feeling guilty, feeling anxious, and full cripple of natural aggression (killing inner power). Well what we end up is absolutely mindless bodies and we stay year after year.
We will never be alone when we are truly alone – how much gaslighting one can handle?
Imagine that. If you actually ever record a therapy session and watch it back, you will be shocked the double talk!
I am thankful for any therapist that gave me space but at the end, I could have lived without re-experiencing childhood trauma in my adult body! Breaking all my defenses and being reduced to baby like state (thank goodness I have a lot of support in my life). The reason people say children are resilient is cause children dissociate/repress and do not remember what happened. When an adult goes through abandonment feeling arising from when they were 1 yrs or 6 months (I wont even guess sexual abuse), ooh mine, that must be just debilitating – especially if the person in the room with you just looks at you!
I do not know for sure, but I think most people who end up with bipolar label are those who went to therapy and get some serious disintegration going.
I have been lucky enough to say to my husband almost after each session, ooh boy, I need to break the spell of regression.
Thank you for sharing your story. You are not alone, and you are just too intelligent to put into words what many of us experienced so succinctly.
““The idea is to offer a sense of justice to a person’s experiences by deeply listening rather than trying to instruct them, give them information, diagnose them, reframe what they say, or discuss ideas: just let them tell their own story, and treat them as the ‘expert’ in what is going on in their lives.”
Then, from an E-CPR approach, the listener articulates how what the person has just said makes them feel. They do not diagnose or reframe what the person is saying; they simply honor a genuine human connection by sharing their feelings in response to what they hear.”
This all sounds good but there is a problem. Not everybody is the same.
There is really no one way to do therapy and to do that is sort of forcing a circle into a square.
I think it is good to ask the person what they think will help them out.
There are many people (some of them even write articles on this same site) who are highly intelligent (not acquired but innate intelligence that one is born with), highly educated (sometimes even more than the treating person) and have a lot of high emotionally intelligence (wisdom). So what is the problem?
Sometimes children are born in the wrong environment which thwarts some development or shuts off the child’s wisdom so sometimes a person wants to learn how you the therapist live, do things/make decisions, and think so they can differentiate from you. Like ooh you do that or I do this and by this mimic, the person learns who they are. All this just talk until you find out who you are is useless – people do this living alone or tic tokc— it does not work. people learn by comparing and contrasting and eventually coming to their own realization – you are a good therapist for giving me space to use you as another mind, but I think I am good with mine and walk away. Adult do not learn like babies so we cannot treat them as such.
This creates equal power in the relationship and then real healing comes when that power is acknowledged and work with it directly. It is no difference from a good adult relationship with a friend or partner (obviously with some very different areas fundamentally). One being the therapist must be aware of their own internalization and actions more than the client. The client needs a full mind to learn how their mind and body work together something that was missed in development.
I want to know when I feel this or that what it means for me NOT So much what it means for you – the treater. Most people by the sheer amount of socialization know what others are doing because ultimately we all go to work and school. So what we need help is how to put finger on the mind development by comparing to another mind that hopefully developed healthier than we are to some point. In this way, both people – the interaction is healing for both.
I want to add the biggest issue in therapy is: we do by identification (maybe for some) and we need to do it by differentiation (cause some need that too) because for the latter, maybe the parent was ill and the child did not want to identify.
But as long as the concept of therapy is identification and then abandonment – sorry will not work. You will just push people into real trauma bigger than the one they came with.
My two cents for this Friday.
I read that piece and I realized Yager was saying everything psychiatrics cannot do today or it is doing it really poorly. By trying to show what tomorrow may look like, he revealed accidentally how bad shrinks are today!
ps. let us hope he is writing a horror sci fi book.
” “Doesn’t that create a blurring of boundaries? Don’t clients misunderstand the relationship and think you are their friends, if they know you care about them?” My response is: “Caring for clients is not incompatible with a professional relationship.”
I have a slightly different approach to this but same nevertheless:
If a clinician asks this question, ask them back, DO YOU confuse YOUR therapist as a friend or a lover or a stranger or whatever? If they say No! then that is your answer – if you do not confuse why are you assuming (projecting) this to the clients?
If they say well I do not have therapist or never been to therapy, then the question is you cannot do this job fully if you do not understand the other side. Just go to therapy for a year – if you are confusing their care to something else – stay another year until you are healthier enough to know you are not confusing your therapist to a lover/friend etc.
Since we are not expecting suicidal clients to have full faculty of their humanity in time of crisis, the next one is also appropriate.
Radically, if the client with suicidal condition is confusing you to a friend cause you care – that is actually the basis for healing them – since as a clinician YOU ARE NOT confused about the relationship, you can use that as starting place for earning their trust, care, understanding and helping them with their condition at the moment. The problem is the idea that you have suicidal means in this culture, you are one dimensional. You can be suicidal and still lucid to reality.
Confusing you as a friend can be used as positive – I would say it is better than confusing the clinician as predator!
Hope this makes sense. English is not first.
I want to add my comment above to clarify #3:
Most of the time (and I met few) people go to therapy with an issue and when they are reduced to this level of childhood driven only by ‘affects’ where the therapist is functioning as the ‘thinking’, many people end up having panic, psychosis or even suicidal thoughts and are considered after ‘difficult’ clients or better to be sophisticated are given real nick names ‘borderline’ ‘bipolar’ or if you really want to erase them from humanity ‘schizophrenia’.
So often it is frightening ordeal to be driven unfunctional like this.
This is extremely timely.
I am looking at therapy from a person who is from a culture where this does not exist. This is what it looks to me
1. Psychotherapy seems to be based on Christianity and specifically Catholicism – you go in a room – everything is ‘confidential’ to a point and you speak while a person (whom you do know nothing about) listens.
2. Psychotherapy seems a way to commodify intimate relationships (no difference than prostitution is commodity of sex not love). Psychotherapy seems intimate no sex (sometime – hence why it is regulated) but intimate one way – very capitalistic. Nothing wrong with this but just let us acknowledge. People stay in it long time cause it is commodity of love without love though – very confusing.
3. The power difference arises from the client being ‘shrunk” to childhood state of mind versus the therapist demanding they keep gate to what is reality for the child and stay adult state of mind. No winning situation for the client – unless they explode and breakdown and acknowledge this weird situation – and laugh – this is very important to be told you are healed. Or keep your integrity, inner power, leave be bitter for a while and eventually realize you survived a solitary confinement with a weird observational body and actually you have issues but fundamentally fine.
4. Extreme belief (like again Christianity) that your childhood is more prominent than your adulthood. Is this really true? So if yes, everybody with trauma should be screwed for life. If you are confused about this look above #3.
5. Do not get me wrong mental health exist but most people who use therapy are quite wealthy so wealthy to be able to pay $100 or more per hour but yet are treated powerless, childlike, encouraged to lead life by feelings (so valid when in fact feelings are so cheap and we have millions of them in life and no one needs to sit on them so long).
6. Another strong belief like religion – you must talk to a person to heal your childhood trauma but if you live long enough to experience life and heal – not good. Your experience in life is never as good as sitting a room with a person whom you do not know – their word is more valuable than your own experience of a long life! If this was not true, I would have cried. Double-bind – the experience of sitting a room with a person will heal your developmental issues but living life and experiencing real situations to grow through will not. Verbatim from therapist. Not making this up!
7. Mad in America is antipsychiatry only because you add meds to the above situations, and you basically burn the house down!
8. I am very sure I will be challenged with there are million empirical studies – yes I smile at this and say sure…but there is also real world out there…just save your money, travel, see how all humanity lives and that is qualia!
9. You do not need “the father figure of empirical research” keep you in shackles.
10. Now how did this help me heal. I could write a book about this – very simple but I am running out of time and also want to keep you the same leash as this phenomenon! I am a jokester. The answer is hidden in this comment. Gosh I lived in this culture too long. Love and peace!
I think my problem is with the words “peer relapsing”. Why is the peer person losing their agency, autonomy, and personhood to becoming a peer? What is the other relapses for non-peers? Anyone can get sick and take time off so why the peer must be attached to any relapse or becoming sick for whatever reasons. I feel maybe this framing is absurd in the first place. One thing I love about working from home nowadays is that – almost everybody must write emails or be on video and the hall ambushing people in the halls of clinics or offices are not as common. What this colleague did sounds predatory and aggression.
If the peer gets sick or relapses to whatever they had before IS NOT any different than having vicarious trauma and should not be used as label. If you are acting erratically at work, then your supervisor should send you home if that is what they feel but should have at least another person who also observed without them creating unsafe space where you are being gaslighted. And even if you act erratic and sent home, this should be understandable and not become a punishment unless it is affecting the clients.
It is hard to discern if you are working in just another toxic place or it was just one incident under the circumstance.
I am truly sorry you must go through this sort of policing in your workplace.
Anecdotally speaking, the problem with schizophrenia is that there are people who have it and are healthy enough to be even psychologist or psychiatrist themselves! Right?
There are many people with this condition who are living normal lives, so the problem may be that it is not the name or the condition but something else?
Maybe every psychiatrist needs to have at least one person who had this condition but is healthy now for humbling experience.
The problem and the stigma is you have this condition and it is a death sentence and you cannot ever get out of it – if you get healthy and move on with your life, and you share this – you lack insight and you are double binded and told you are truly schizophrenic and not know it.
I do not have solution but as others said maybe differentiating those with positive reactions versus negative reactions may help – so one is evolved spectrum for those functional enough to take care of themselves and the other is regressive spectrum while in the acute symptomology like violence to self or others. And one client can go from one side of spectrum to another or completely get out of the spectrum. The mere fact one person can tell you that you WILL BE THIS WAY FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE is seriously flawed especially when many recover with meds or not eventually. We cannot call it a spectrum and yet discount the spectrum.
May I propose a radical paradigm:
There is no loss of openness of the person who is suffering from schizophrenia who is coming to get help. Getting help is an act of openness already. Getting dismissal, diagnosis, undermining of one’s subjectivity and mind is closeness.
The flip side and where the problem can only be solved is: can the medical industry be open consciously and willing to allow themselves to learn, to listen, to give credence of the person they are treating rather than wanting that person do to what they want “openness” or not.
I know it is difficult to ask the medical groups to open up to the unknown to become less expert on everybody’s mind…but that is precisely why it is even more challenging to ask a person suffering supposedly from closeness to the masses to do exactly what the medical personnel do not or can’t do themselves.
The closeness is the system not the individual coming to the system. The major oppressor machine of this extremely difficult condition is language. We use language against them rather than open to them.
The old quote: If you look at each word, you will see the impersonalization of the experience
“We propose that schizophrenic experience might be understood as arising from a dialectic relation between the self’s loss of openness to the world and the world’s loss of openness to the self.”
Now let me re-phrase this:
We propose that a person with schizophrenic experience might be understood as arising from a dialectic relation between the system’s/culture/etc loss of openness to the world and the world’s loss of openness to the individual with schizophrenic experience.
Let us try that now using some imagination.
IMHO, what I learned in therapy is that it is easy to focus what went wrong and how wrong are you still than what went right and let us focus what actually make you get here in the first place – most people are so focused what is missing and wrong than their inner wisdom. Therapy does not focus making that inner wisdom conscious but pushing more about the trauma or diagnosis (same thing really just different flavour of socially engineered way).
If we use language appropriately in therapy, we would be talking about not how you got traumatized by your father abusing you (which let us be honest no one can recall at certain age) but more about what have you done right since, how did you become you, tell me your human secrets and by telling that, one sees themselves in different light. Imagination is a tool so under-rated. What makes a child happy and free is imagination that dies in therapy rooms of adults.
We do not do that because doing that requires, we let go of power, authority, and taking function (taking over the clients’ observing mind) and using silence to literally induce solitary confident of the mind while sadly with another who is so boundaried of their mind – it is like if you are so afraid of losing your mind as a professional, then you must understand you can also steal others’ mind and create a void…which is how trauma is created – stealing one’s mind not brain…the mind.
How can you be in therapy and talk about trauma without ever mentioning the word wisdom or imagination? Trauma kills the child’s free spirit and imagination. Therapy, if done right, should focus on unleashing the imagination and the free spirit not swim back in the cesspool of what happened that most people cannot recall in language!
Pointing out his blackness is sort of the problem. It is OK MIA has “black contacts” and gives a forum…again what is the problem?
I think what this man’s story shows is the fundamental striving for humanity. He can show his shortcomings and those powers above and beyond that just were barrier. I could not empathize every decision he made in the past but I could see his struggles. At the end, I was on cheering at his delight in being independent in his 60s with all these health issues and giving his universal given wisdom whatever it might be.
I am with @l_e_cox on this one to some extent.
A beautiful mind writes this piece. A beautiful mind without a body. The body is there but the mind that is so beautiful to put this piece together has no attachment to the body. So the body seems really pissed off, hence, the mind in order not to harm the body, created the distraction of the meds. So all feelings are toward the meds because it is much easier than making peace with the body – the corporeal always demands and wins. The meds are metaphorical entity for the feelings toward the body. I feel this because you mentioned your age – that is the age of the body and its weight of all the decisions made on the body – the body wants freedom to connect with the mind so it can go places that solid things cant (that might be a way to avoid mania) but a fight against mania is fight against imagination and against freedom itself!
You have extremely strong and resilient body to carry on regardless.
The mind is still youthful, growing, expressing, and searching for freedom but in order to get there, minds need a body as vehicle!
Freedom in the body without mind is addiction. Freedom in the mind without body is harmful/psychoticism. Using imagination/creativity without database is to engineer bringing both together. You entice me this way in my own recovery.
Where I differ from @l_e_cox is that the mind is also in the environment like oxygen is but there is/are unknown parts – we do not have words yet that know the mind and the body – what is looking and talking about the mind is not the mind or even consciousness to me this is the end of language – maybe a music or piece of art can show but no articulation. That is a slight variation I have.
I was blown over by “commodified suffering” comment. I have been calling this as the commodified feelings. In the mental health system, the most commodified feeling or state of mind is empathy. Try to show empathy, and it is taken right off your mouth, and you are forced into regression, and only then, you will be released until you again show the same empathy that was not allowed from you earlier. Do not worry of others (killing any collectivism on the way), just worry about your feelings as first person (creating isolation of the mind). Of course the therapist must show empathy, must function as my own empathy since I am not allowed because I am a child…symbolically speaking but yet as if. writing this down is making me go mental already. No reason to make helping others so categorized…it is soft, it is malleable, it is flexible, it is human connection of the mind, the body and the others all at once, all apart organically, and all mixed when needed in so many different capacities. No hard rules!
As a helper myself, I decided, there has to be a way to heal without functioning as their empathy (by rendering my clients disable). I want them to keep their empathy and still heal. I empower them to keep their empathy and heal with it with me or with them alone.
but the commodifying empathy, keeps the client keep coming back year after year…depleted of all humanity!
Thank you for putting words things I notice in healing business in therapy that did not make sense.
Sometimes your comments remind me of my experience in therapy. I feel that may not be your intention cause you have no idea but what you write often touches me.
I had a very violent childhood trauma that went on until I left my family of origin at 19. I have enough scars to cause me infertility. But, the big but is that I lead a decent life where I have never been on meds, or hospitalized or went to jail (well let us not count shoplifting as a teenager and early young adulthood) but I have grown up and only saw my childhood – the worst experience of my life- and now that I am out of it – I need to catch up living to the fullest! so I live in momentum of life!
Then I wanted to become a therapist…and felt I need to see if therapy works first. No matter how good my life is or I say I am happy, the invalidation is I am traumatic person and must have PTSD….PTSD is the best code in health cause there is no cure! but I have no symptoms to reduce but I have yes really violent experience that I never sought help with a professional but I have so many siblings, relatives, I love my friends, my husband…I am well taken care of. None of those are good if I did not process it. Even though I am not short of processing anything. There is nothing to process if the experience is in my language anytime I need to speak of it.
Processing a trauma is cultural. Something one does cause there is no any other way of healing. Well I grew up a different culture where processing is part of life!
But I am not on meds never been. I am not interested in reducing symptoms, do not have any. I have support. I have a great job. I am happy and sad as normal human. But in the system, I am reduced, shrank, to my traumatic childhood. If my parents abused me while loving me, the system is validating me unless I agree with them.
I want to become a therapist that just believes what the person wants not what they want while they are with me…I do not want to be the centre of their language target. I want to be an observer and my impact is up for interpretation and disagreement not for compliance and identification.
My shield was dissociation (severe enough but did not even know it so not scary enough but not in split personality level) BUT I still manage to own few properties in one of the most expensive cities in the world, married truly happily, helping others who may have less than me in material…and see the world. What more do I need that I would have if I did not have bad childhood and suffer dissociation that I only learned during therapy.
I am not allowed to say yes my childhood was bad but I not traumatized by it in a way that I must identify with it. and I cannot truly say my bad childhood screw me over forever cause I would be lying.
What I am trying to say is I really understand you have an illness or you do not – and that does not mean anything material in your life. but in order to speak with others, we must use language and to make easier for them to understand, we must identify with something but I do understand your refusal to do what others need in the conversation. But I also understand you or anyone needs to appease others in language. Your experience should be able to stand alone without me or anyone else getting satisfaction of relating. It is OK not to feel relatable sometimes or forever. It is hard to hold two conflicting and contrary thoughts at once.
I asked often what more would I have if I had perfect childhood? Nothing would have changed. Sure maybe I would be faster in thinking, would be able to have a child cause I am not bruised but…then there are millions like me so I am not alone. Regardless, I just wanted to say I hear you and even my hearing does not mean it is important.
I am speaking for me when I said, I love your extreme ability to hold so many contradicting thoughts and still express them in language. Not an easy feat.
anosognosia=catch 22=doublebind=exactly how trauma is performed!
you are doomed if you do, and doomed if you do not.
I think and I am sorry if I am not fully knowledgeable about the framework of working as Peer Support, what does “equal” mean in a context where the two people are not equally relating?
IMHO, I am a wounded healer (well that is a bit too much). I am a person who experienced a violent and systematic abuse for long period of my life and recovered enough to lead satisfying life including in training to become a therapist myself. I have experienced power imbalance during my recovery in therapy process not so much hospital (which power imbalance is more prevalent). What I learned from my personal experience is that power and authority are mainly perception issues (unless a physical material is involved where one is being held)…but in mental health power and authority are perception.
I never had that perception (or more likely) I have had it intellectually but understood it enough not to act on it and also not to endow on any therapist that helped me along the way that my vulnerability is equal to less power of my autonomy.
Now the word “equal” is problem. Because a person is seeking help and one is giving help in terms of “empathy” and “support”. That mere giving has a power to stop giving…but also the taker has a power to refuse taking…so that power and authority are shared BUT ONLY if both are verbally, consistently, remaindering each other in almost every step of the way consistently and purposefully.
Equal power and authority only exist if it is verbalized often and both are allowed to say what they think about it.
I think peer support to believe they are “equal” while working and have obligation to a system, organization or other authority is not really equal anymore and forget if there is even payment involved. We are just stretching the surface and creating a real doublebind here.
I hope I am not coming off as semantic expert (I am far from that) but I think the equality of the peer support and a patient/client can only be real if both actually speak of it as negotiation in such that the client/patient can say something like (and allowed to say)…I do not want that code in billing (and the question is truly why a peer support is even involved in coding)….all the roles seem to be mixing.
A peer support framework does not seem clear.
Another issue that bothers me about the process for peer support is the loss of identity as you mentioned. Not only identity, but autonomy and ownership of their experience (one experience must determine their profession) and also if they get sick – they are not given the same flexibility…all of sudden the question is what? I thought they recovered? they are “shrink” to that experience forever! Having a peer support should be a generic like being a psychiatrist and having MD in your name…a peer support should not be reduced to their “emotional challenge” actually IMHO< that should not be even a requirement…cause all humans have challenges in emotions – divorce, job loss, grief, loss, sickness etc….peer support should be based being human who wants to support anther human without being a clinician. Otherwise, the peer support cause you have been hospitalized reduces the person' human value to the contribution of humanity!
The peer support needs to create their own framework without the system that created their need. They need to flush out all the possible scenarios including minimizing their own recovery experience to a template but not the foreground cause we are all different humans and our experiences are not alike ever! maybe to a point but not to duplication. To me this sounds a little boy who wants to be like his father but will never be because the father is created in different world so forever striving to be like the father is useless…what the little boy needs to do is become his own man. (use of gender is to make a point easier).
Now the peer support needs a system that is not modeled in the system that created but based on their own coming to a new paradigm of what is mental health. But that will also require some quality control for huma interaction and if there is a confusion of service…a peer support must be protected as much as the person they are supporting. Any time two humans meet, there will be some misunderstanding so that needs to be addressed as well – I never see this being addressed. Safety, protection, privacy, ownership of experience are all things that need to be worked through outside of the known system to start afresh!
ps. I am operating from non-believe of power in mental health, diagnosing of human emotion and making some emotions into monsters and others to friends and also from the point view of peer support is more than just those who had experienced the system but those who also learned how to become independent in their mind from the system enough to work to through it but who are still humans and may have remissions but do not need to perform to show others how much they have come or be validated for their experience (I know mouthful)….but peer support need their own framework outside of the system. The system should come to them not the other way around.
This is a great article and touches so many layers of what it means to have mental health issues, poverty, and heal and integrate oneself.
First, only in the first world do people truly correlate mental health with poverty. There are a lot of poor people who do not have mental health issues.
Mental health is one of the most equalizer in humans. Anyone can get it but some people have the means to recover or the resources. Having resource is not a prevention of mental health, it is treatment of mental health.
The need for the individual to have all they need inside (mind, imagination, creativity, esteem) is just as important as the need to have others in their lives for things like love, relationships, friendships, support, humor, creativity, sharing…
So the problem often arises, when the two are split hard by culture, politics, or some kind of mental processing that may not be obvious to the person involved or genetically inherited genes of such. I often make the comment if you are so individualized, one should live in the mountains alone forever! and if you want to give up individualism and live fully collectively, then just join a cult! (being sarcastic cause I am very sure both are doable in some sensible ways…)
So this article is touching a lot of layers that most of us want to keep balanced but it is hard.
As someone whose culture does not have psychotherapy like approach to mental health because the culture is collective and people who are struggling with basic mental conditions depression, anxiety schizophrenia etc. usually are taken care of family (which creates its own problems obviously), I would like to weigh in this topic from that perspective.
First and foremost, if something can heal it can also harm. Arguing about that is useless. Anytime you have two people in a room for extended period of time, and add a mix of one person having strong boundary of the mind, while the other is expected to empty the mind so both can look at the mind together, is recipe for healing exponentially and also has just as much risk of exponential harm.
That differential of the mind access is something, as psychotherapist we are not fully allowed to discuss in a deeply and meaningful way because most training truly believe one can boundary the mind that hard and that long in this process. Just as much as clients are emptying their mind with their consent so they can see their own inner workings and intricacies, the psychotherapist is also subtly emptying their mind but not open for the client to comment on it.
When I went to therapy to become a therapist, I had no idea how therapy works. I mean that exactly what it means. I knew I will sit in a room with a person but I had no idea that I would be expected to give a ‘consent’ to empty my mind so I could see it with another person. I did not have the concept. I did not grow up in the concept. I wanted to help others and wanted to learn the techniques and I was educated myself in therapy!
I broke down completely due to my own unprocessed childhood trauma that was not oblivious to me but I managed decent life so I never dwell on it. But sitting a room with a person whose mind was boundaried on purpose (just like my mother, whose mind was boundaried unconsciously when I was born), I fell unceremoniously into complete black hole full of extreme regression and dissociative states I did not know I carried. Because prior I did not have any mood or panic or as far as I know organic underlying, I had to anchor myself with my own adulthood memory of I was functional before therapy and now all of sudden I am broken down what is going on????
I decided to learn the process more and break it down.
First the consent to the mind and the inner workings of the client is not understood universally or even culturally. When we are asking consent to treatment, IMHO, what we are asking subtly (this needs to be spelled out) is that I, the therapist, will like to have access to your inner mind, inner dialogue, and I promise to treat that with upmost respect and empathy and whenever I fail as I will as human, I will hope we can work out with your functioning, integrated side. Can you give that consent? Very few people will do until they trust the person and the conversation is very clear not ambiguity.
The harm is this: sign consent – full of words without meaning. Start talking and empty your dissociative, disavowed parts to a person you may trust or not- immaterial. The therapist gets access and does not share the information with the functioning parts of the person that gave the consent. Language is used in obfuscation.
In severe states of dissociative or extreme regression, symbolization, meaning and sophistication are harmful – no different than if you are talking to a toddler about death! The therapist must learn and ask spelled out consent each step of the way until the client’s integration parts are more on the foreground more often than the dissociate states and can digest, metastasized and symbolized the meaning of the things found under regression.
Now the therapy started with the blank state just like the first heart surgeon probably butchered a person to learn but as surgery has become more sophisticated, therapy has become more confiscation.
A therapist that can articulate their inner workings with the client from the client who is paying a very high price and who is working, functioning, striving for health in every day…is the right therapy. A therapist with the mentality of I see your inner workings are so broken, and I am going to function for you without your consent is harmful without even knowing.
Only a highly integrated, functional person can give a full consent to empty the mind at will with another who is not doing the same. A client who is emptying the mind automatically to the therapist, it is the therapist job to name this and make sure there is a consent.
There is a great article by Wolfgang Wöller et al that basically states: for complex PTSD, the therapist should not engage directly, collect information, build a relationship with parts that are showing up in therapy without the functional adult paying side of the client ….there is no consent to treat until the person paying is on it. Most therapists are so eager, excited to access others’ mind that they forget there is a person who owns that mind sitting Infront of them and without that part (the most autonomous and important part that came to therapy in the first place) must be respected, empathic and taught how to take care of the new parts — the functionality of therapists must be clearly stated until the client is almost integrated enough to give full access for the therapist to be functional in much greater ways. Basically Woller is saying, only those very integrated can allow the therapist to have access to their inner mind. Make no assumption and ensure as therapist if you are having conversation with parts of the client that the client is not aware of, stop, get a consent from the functional part of the client.
This my take…maybe too wordy but this is very complex intersubjective experience and going high in the power imbalance or not being aware of it and what it means, causes a lot of the reasons the therapeutic does not work.
The more severe a person is, the less symbolization and more direct, IMHO. And as the person heals, integrates and learns how to carry their own small, primitive childlike parts (their vulnerability), the more they can withstand another person accessing their mind.
The focus on technique is kind of barbaric. Think this way: can we teach mothers how to be even just good enough mothers? No….we cannt because there is no human technique.
It all boils down to asking consent every step of the way to access another’s mind and have conversation about that and allow the client to witness their own breakdown without fear, mystery and confusion…the more they heal, the more they will allow the mystery, the symbolization, the meaning making…but not while they are processing infantile or epigenetic materials that were highly traumatic.
I hope this makes sense but I thought I will share my experience of therapy for the first time and going get out of my mind – you devil, I need to solve this person accessing my mind and resist, to is this person helping me, to ooh this person is trying to help me and support me but they should ask my permission first? and I realized I had no idea what therapy is truly.
Just coming to therapy alone is not a consent to poke around other’s mind.
Before I went to therapy in my 40s for childhood abuse, I volunteered for almost 30 yrs so by the time I arrived for therapy, I was already mostly integrated because all those I helped along the way, inadvertently also gave me parts of themselves for me to heal! I found myself in therapy comparing the exact implicit memory to a real memory from my volunteer about how I learned who I am truly!
Empathy, Altruistic, and Connection are three words I would use to explain my volunteer background.
thank you for putting it so beautifully.
“Moving on, you have defined madness as ‘the moment in a conversation that one of the interlocutors decides to halt the interaction, legitimizing this by adducing that communication would no longer be possible and motivating this by calling the other “psychotic,”’ which I thought was brilliantly astute. In light of the above, does it also make sense to think of such diagnostic interactions as rooted in a sort of ‘confusion of tongues’ between residents of different worlds? ”
This sounded to me when the therapists over value the interaction or the relational aspect of therapy over the self, the species person/the animal/the organism, the autonomy and if these two are separated by virtue of one’s past trauma, one becomes the disposal of the other to be called – psychotic rather than let us see where we are at. Psychosis may be defined when two people speak to each other and one does not understand the other and has a power over the other, then that one names the other as psychosis rather than wondering, becoming curious, and try to learn what is this person is saying.